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Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan Opening Single Car NASCAR Cup Series Operation in 2021; Bubba Wallace to Drive

Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin will open a new single-car NASCAR Cup Series operation for the 2021 season, with up-and-coming driver Bubba Wallace signed to the team in a multi-year agreement.

11 years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game, and we became fast friends. Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level.

Tonight, I’m excited to announce that [Michael Jordan] and I are starting a new, single car NASCAR Cup Series team for 2021. Deciding on a driver was easy – it had to be Bubba Wallace.

Bubba has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Cup Series, and we believe he’s ready to take his career to a higher level. He deserves the opportunity to compete for race wins and our team will make sure he has the resources to do just that. Off the track, Bubba has been a loud voice for change in our sport and our country. MJ and I support him fully in those efforts and stand beside him.

More details about the team will be released at a later date, but for now, I remain focused on winning a championship for my No. 11 FedEx Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing team this season and in the years ahead.

— Denny Hamlin

According to the team’s press release, the car number, manufacturer, team name and sponsors have all yet to be determined, and will be announced at a later date.

Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life. The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me. Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systematic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.

— Michael Jordan, on NASCAR Team Ownership

Jordan will serve as the team’s principal owner, while Hamlin continues to chase a NASCAR Cup Series Championship for Joe Gibbs Racing for the foreseeable future, while taking on a minority ownership role in the race team.

This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.

— Bubba Wallace

The team’s charter will come from Germain Racing, who announce that they would be closing their doors at the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Season, leaving longtime driver Ty Dillon as a free agent.

Team owner Bob Germain announces the sale of the Germain Racing charter. Germain Racing will continue to compete with Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet in the final seven races, before saying farewell at the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Season.

Being an owner in NASCAR for the last 16 years has been a thrilling adventure. From winning two NASCAR Truck Series championships in 2006 and 2010 to competing at the highest level of motorsports in the Cup Seires for the last 12 seasons, I have experienced the highs and lows of our sport. I’m extremely proud of what Germain Racing has accomplished at every level and I will be transitioning out of ownership with many memories and friendships. I appreciate the interest and offers made over the last couple of weeks, and I am excited to see how the sport continues to grow in the future.

Thank you to GEICO for their loyalty to Germain Racing for over a decade. It has been a great source of pride for our team to represent their brand on track. Doug Barnette with Player Management International has facilitated our GEICO relationship since the beginning and I truly appreciate his efforts. Finally, to my employees: building a team camaraderie and creating a family atmosphere has been a highlight of this journey. I will miss each of you.

— Germain Racing

Wallace – who was a hot topic of conversation in silly season talks, among teams like Chip Ganassi Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports — has signed many big time partnerships this season, due to the Mobile, Alabama-native speaking out against racial injustice and urging NASCAR to remove the Confederate Flag from all race tracks.

Partnerships that may carry over for Wallace in 2021, include: McDonalds, Columbia Sports Wear, Door Dash, Cash App and Beats by Dre.

We proudly welcome Michael Jordan into the NASCAR family, and look forward to watching Michael, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace compete in 2021. Michael is an iconic sports figure and celebrated champion whose fiercely competitive nature has placed him among the greatest athletes of all time. His presence at NASCAR’s top-level will further strengthen the competition, excitement and momentum growing around our sport. We wish Michael and his team tremendous success.

— NASCAR Statement 

UPDATE: September 21st –  11:50PM ET

In an exclusive interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Michael Jordan brought a couple of new details to light about what the race team will look like in 2021.

In the interview, Jordan mentioned that the team has been working closely with Joe Gibbs Racing – who field minority owner Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota Camry — and is currently in conversations “to get the data and create a relationship with them”. This indicates that the team will be running Toyota Camry’s next season.

As for the car’s number? Jordan says he would love to have the No. 23 on the car, but in the end that will be the choice of driver Bubba Wallace.
Click here to read Rick Bonnell’s interview with Michael Jordan

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